Tis the season for big jumpers and yomping walks that give you warm hands and red nose to then hunker down and feed yourself up with a hearty big dinner. It’s also the time of year where seasonal produce is incredibly flavoursome and feels that little bit extravagant – the new season’s native oysters are in full swing, there’s grouse and pheasant and other game on the menu, and truffles galore. Rich flavours and hearty fare – I’m not sure what other excuse you need to get out and go feasting. Here are five good options for pre-hibernation dining.
Venison rolls, crab doughnuts, steak tartare, Wiltshire black truffle and champagne risotto… Got you salivating? Executive Chef Nuno Mendes and Head Chef Richard Foster are hosting a season of Firehouse Feasts where those dishes are just some of the starters. Expect duck, salmon, Iberico pork, rib of beef, sea bass, and trimmings like braised hispi cabbage and bacon. Oh and there’s pudding too. Take your mates. For groups of 8 to 12 people, starting from £125pp from November 23, chilternfirehouse.com
The winter white truffle from the Italian hills near Alba in the north of the country are some of the most highly prized. Impossible to cultivate and scarce to find, it’s worth making a fuss over the arrival of the tartufo bianco, whose short season will be done by December. And make a fuss Veneta certainly does. As a one off, the restaurant is hosting a decadent six course lunch where every dish features white truffle – baked Queenie scallops, Fresh tagliatelle, cheesecake and plum sorbet. It’s a fitting feast for the ‘white diamond’ of Italy. £100, 19 November, saltyardgroup.co.uk
It’s been a year since Smokestak opening in Shoreditch, but this barbecue, wood-fired meat and cocktail joint already feels like an institution garnering praise from critics and a coveted Michelin Bib Gourmand last month. To mark the turn towards the festive season you can now order a whole beef brisket, enough for twenty people, to feast on, served with pickled cucumbers, chillies, and mustard barbecue sauces. If you’ve ever had fantasies about dining like a Viking warlord, this might be the closest you come to living that dream. £150, smokestak.co.uk
When it comes to big family gatherings with epic quantities of delicious food, you don’t need to look much further than Italy for inspiration. Both Angela Hartnett’s Cafe Murano sites offer huge Italian-style feasts in their private dining rooms – five courses of antipasti, primi, secondi, formaggi and dolce of dishes like risotto, agnolotti, linguine, fish stew, braised beef cheek… Molto bene. £70 pp, cafemurano.co.uk
Hill and Szrok
By day, a butchers; by night, a cookshop, where you and 22 others can sit round the marble butchers block and dine on the meat they sell, curated into a bespoke feasting menu. The team at the Broadway Market shop will create a menu based around the cuts of meat they sell, including whole suckling pigs if you want to (pardon the pun) go the whole hog, with carefully considered matching sides. It’ll be tempting to lock yourself in. hillandszrok.co.uk